Air Malta pilots given promotions, training, ahead of closure and new airline’s first flight

Air Malta is offering staff internal promotions and training for aeroplane captains just a few months before it shuts down, ahead of its replacement by KM Malta Airlines, raising fresh questions on the supposed discontinuity between the two companies.

An internal email sent to Air Malta pilots in October offered them the opportunity for a promotion to captain, which internal sources say comes with training and certification processes that run into March next year, just days before the airline is grounded for good.

Air Malta sources said the selection process was completed this month, with the final stages of training expected to last until February, releasing the selected applicants as captains by March. On 30 March, Air Malta will operate its last flight before KM Malta Airlines, the government’s replacement carrier, takes over as the new national airline on 1 April.

An internal email noted the start of a promotions process in October, which internal sources claim will run into the month of Air Malta’s shutting down, ahead of the KM Malta Airlines’ first flight.

The transition, set to cost some €350 million, has already missed deadlines for opening bookings and garnered complaints about cost-cutting changes.

As revealed by The Shift in August 2022, the government was barred from injecting some €290 million into Air Malta to save it from crash landing after the European Commission opposed it due to state aid rules, forcing it to close the airline.

Following talks with the European Commission, the government was to set up a new airline completely separate from the old one, ensuring discontinuity between the two to avoid a breach of state aid regulations.

While there will be no automatic transfer of employment contracts, pilots employed with Air Malta can re-apply for employment with KM Malta Airlines under new conditions.

Air Malta had signed collective agreements with the Malta Pilots’ Association ALPA, guaranteeing early retirement schemes which would see the airline paying two-thirds the salary of pilots aged 55 with 25 years of service, until retirement age.

Upon announcing a new airline last October, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Prime Minister Robert Abela claimed some €90 million would be allocated to honouring those availing themselves of the retirement schemes. They said pilots taking this route would be barred from ever flying with the national airline or working in the public sector again.

Last year, in a claimed bid to save Air Malta, the government handed out ‘golden handshakes’ worth some €1 million per pilot to buy them out of the early retirement clause. It is unclear whether this option is still available to pilots and, if so, whether they can then be re-employed with the new airline.

In June, The Shift reported how some former Air Malta pilots who accepted the handshake were re-employed with Malta Med Air, a stop-gap airline owned by the Maltese government, through a UK-based pilot services intermediary.

Questions sent to Air Malta Chairman Philip Von Brockdorff and former Air Malta chairman David Curmi, replaced last month in a cosmetic move ahead of his appointment as chairman of KM Malta Airlines, remain unanswered.


Sign up to our newsletter

Stay in the know

Get special updates directly in your inbox
Don't worry we do not spam
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael Borg
2 months ago

Din Hadma ohra tal-Gvern Lejburista

Air Malta is bankrupt and its debts are being paid by us, the tax payers, irrespective of the amount. This new poly is for Air Malta to be loaded with all exit expenses, including these new machinations, so that the new airline will get the benefits but not the costs.

This is evidence that the Authorities do not have much faith in the new airline and are doing somersaults to try to ‘help’, covertly, this new fangled, airline survive.

2 months ago

What a wonderful scam this is … The Maltese taxpayer paying through his nose while AirMalta’s hole is dug deeper and deeper!

Mario Vella Laurenti
2 months ago

I do hope this time the politicians of both parties they not make a mess out of it, as they did with Air Malta to buy votes.

Charles Bartolo
Charles Bartolo
2 months ago

In early 2012, 644 employees at Airmalta had applied for voluntary/early retirement schemes, and this helped to balance the books and be on track by the end of 2013 when Mr. Davies was forced to resign. As soon as he resigned, an additional 400 persons were engaged with Airmalta. Not to forget the 3 CEOs in less than 2 years who knew nothing about aviation (a few months ago we heard that another one is running away from the sinking ship) and put Airmalta’s 66 million euro in the red. And yet you still have the nerve to blame PN for this. In 25 years, PN never even thought of selling Airmalta let alone giving it away for free or forcing the taxpayers to pay its debts.

2 months ago

A classic example of Maltese Mafia business, a new project with horrendous debt already in the offing,the money will just evaporate, close it down before we get saddled with bail out costs and final salary “adjustments”.

Raphael Agius
Raphael Agius
2 months ago

Bonus after bonus, promotion after promotion ………… well done …. keeping it up boys and girls. La tistaw u jhallu kollox ghadej …… why not … it s already difficult to sit down with all the bull…..t up our ars…….. so one more up there will make no difference.

Related Stories

Former director of Binance, company fined billions in US, living it up in Malta
The former director of the Malta-registered portion of Binance
Spanish lawyer paid €111,000 to defend Malta’s EU bird trapping case
The government has hired a top Spanish lawyer, who

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo